Sydney, July 10 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed victory in the federal election as the coalition on Sunday edged towards a slim majority in parliament.
“This is a great day today (Sunday),” ABC quoted Turnbull as saying here, after Labour party leader Bill Shorten admitted defeat.
“We have resolved this election and have done so peacefully. It’s something we should celebrate and not take for granted.”
He said the coalition was on track to win at least 74 seats and was confident to win two more, giving it enough seats to govern in its own right in the 150-seat House of representatives — the lower chamber of the bicameral Australian parliament.
Turbull welcomed Shorten’s offer to find “common ground”, saying he hoped the two sides could work together.
“It’s vital that this parliament works it is vital that we work together and as far as we can try to find ways upon which we can all agree.”
He flagged some changes to the ministry due to MPs losing their seats, and said the Liberal partyroom would meet on July 18.
Turnbull said his granddaughter Isla was on his lap when he took Shorten’s concession call, and he was “deeply, deeply touched” by the moment.
“That’s a moment I’ll never forget,” ABC quoted an emotional Turnbull as saying.
“It was a reminder that we are trustees for future generations. Everything we do is about the future.”
Earlier, Shorten said although counting was still underway, it was clear that Turnbull would form the next either a minority or majority government.
“I understand we need to make this parliament function and we’ll be up for that,” Shorten said.
“I hope for the nation’s sake that the coalition does a good job.”
“I wish Turnbull well in what the future holds. But we also have a mandate to stand up for Medicare, to make sure schools are properly funded and to prioritise Australian jobs.”
The opposition leader said he would write to Turnbull to suggest a bipartisan push to embrace electronic voting, saying election results should not hang in the balance for so long.
“We’re a grown-up democracy, it shouldn’t take eight days to find out who’s won,” he said.
Turnbull said electronic voting was “something we must look at”, and also flagged regulation of “extremely deceptive” robo-calls and text messages sent out during a campaign.
The coalition is optimistic about its prospects in the key Queensland seats of Flynn and Capricornia, which would deliver the party the 76 seats needed for a majority.
Shorten, who had previously indicated he would not concede until the coalition officially won 76 seats, said he could not be prouder of Labour.
“I am proud Labour is back and that Labour is united,” he said.